One of the main concerns of many language teachers is to help learners to perfect their grammar knowledge. When asked if that is a SMART goal, the answer is usually ‘YES’, and the justification is that their students will be capable of deciphering every text comfortably without having to worry about the structures when they know grammar.

From my point view, their argument is far from valid for two reasons:

1. Lexical knowledge helps far more effectively to understand a written text. That is to say, I totally agree with M. Lewis, who suggests that students are able to perceive patterns of language when they have meaningful set uses of words at their disposal.

2. Bottom-up approach, with the goal of facilitating comprehension, is not always the right path to walk. Instead, top-down approach will work better because when someone uses background information to predict the meaning of language they are going to listen to or read, they learn the topic more cognitively.

The argument of teachers who assume that grammar is prior to comprehension reveals that they are actually concerned with teaching learners how to read more effectively. However, what they fail to see is the fact that there are other different ways to approach teaching reading.  The following link contains a very useful presentation by David Petrie about how to teach reading, so I will not go into that realm in this post.

My point in this very post is to state that the most effective way to teach grammar is to do it INDUCTIVELY. What happens then when inductive approach to grammar instruction is adopted?


1. Learners process the target language cognitively.

2. Learners retain the rules better.

3. Learners are actively involved in learning.

4. It gives learners a sense of achievement.

5. Learners eventually become autonomous.

For further discovery, you can click on the link that follows and hear inductive grammar teaching from an expert in the field.

Finally, a personal reflection!

I always ask myself the questions below before I start planning my grammar lessons, and the truth is they guide me through the process by helping me focus on students and unleashing their full potential to learn and do it with joy.


1. How do I allow them to notice the gap between target language and their knowledge of it?

2. How do I guide them to discover the patterns of target language?

3. How do I create opportunities for them to collaborate with their peers to negotiate form, meaning and use of the patterns of target language?

4. How do I scaffold the activities?

5. How do I create opportunities for them to produce the patterns studied?

Have a nice new week of teaching!



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